An Open Letter To Judge Jasvender Kaur In May 2015 Following Her Ruling On Amos Yee

(A mailed-in letter to Judge Jasvender Kaur following her May 2015 ruling on Amos Yee; it was also posted on TOC at or about that time.)

Setting a precedent for ‘Hebdo-ization’ in Singapore?

In January 2015, the French satirical lampooner magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was violently set upon by religious fanatics, furious over the ‘Hebdo-ization’ of their sacrosanct Prophet. And in May 2015, a District Judge here found Amos Yee guilty of disseminating obscenity on the Internet.

Accordingly, his one obscene commission has the effect to ‘deprave and corrupt’ young viewers on the Net in Singapore. And that was attributed to a single cartoony illustration Yee uploaded on the Internet, depicting both late SM Lee and Baroness Thatcher in a ludicrous, sexually compromising position. Any reasonable member in the community would have to wonder, in good conscience, if Yee’s obscenity conviction was really about obscenity as charged or about the ‘Hebdo-ization’ of the late SM Lee.

From beyond looking on, SM Lee would doubtless be mortified to be accorded such sacrosanctity on a par with some holy religious figure. Are we here heading down the slippery slope towards criminalization of even such cheeky yet innocuous caricature? I surely hope not.

Hard cases make bad law. To begin with, Yee’s charges were neither fish nor fowl. To be sure, the teenager was guilty of running his mouth off with vile expletives, shenanigans of which should have been duly dealt with in juvenile family court. Unfortunately, in this instance, the AG office overreacted and overcharged Yee. It ended up putting the Court in a state of cognitive dissonance over the fitness of sentence for the maiden crimes Yee purportedly committed.

Coda: I chose to omit mentioning Yee’s second criminal guilty finding which concerns his upsetting of religious tranquility. I did that for the simple reason that any hired appellate legal beagle worth his/her salt would be chomping at the bit for action — the stuff of ready-made appellate reversal that would only be anticipated with glee.

Sincerely,                                                                                                                                       Lester Kok

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(March 26, 2017, from TOC, The Online Citizen)

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    To cut to the chase, if PAP hadn’t prosecuted Amos, this would not have blown out of proportion… Less one chance for foreigners to pick on SG and or laugh at our stupidity to take WA Amos so seriously…

    If those who filed the report and government would have left him alone, SG won’t be a mockery on international forefront… So many glaring examples of our leaders making mistakes that affect the entire of SG including reputation and you don’t go after these people but choose to spend time going after a 乳臭未干 teenager? Lolxxx

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    Cher Ling, you are half right about not throwing the book at him in the first place. But that would only be a band-aid approach to the problem (as American jargon goes). Looking at it now with hindsight, Amos would sooner or later run afoul of the law because he was/is going thru a transitional phase of fearless exploration aided and abetted by the excesses of influence from the Net. What I truly objected to was the uncalled-for jail sentence on first-time, non-violent, juvenile miscreant. I would not be surprised to see a law named after him someday; thanks to him, the gov. has learnt much from it. But his trouble is far from over as I’ll be posting an article soon on why his asylum victory is short-lived … you will read it here.

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